Club News

Youssouf relishing Gerrard test

And midfielder hopes Yacob will be by his side to tackle England skipper

YOUSSOUF Mulumbu is relishing the chance to re-forge his central-midfield partnership with Claudio Yacob as they prepare for the task of stopping the man he rates up there with the best - Steven Gerrard.

The Baggies duo have not played together in over two months due to injuries and international commitments – but are both available for selection at Liverpool tonight (ko 8pm).

And Mulumbu is expecting a stiff examination from the England captain, who demonstrated his threat with a goal-of-the-season contender against Manchester City last weekend.

“I spoke with Claudio when I came back from the African Cup of Nations,” he said.

“I think he missed me a little bit because Gonzalo [Jara Reyes] is away on loan and I am the only other one who can speak Spanish with him.

“I’m happy to have him in the team.

“He is a great player and we have a good partnership so it will be easy for us to play.

“I’m looking forward to getting back on the pitch with him and the rest of my team-mates to show West Brom is a good team.”

He added: “I think Gerrard is one of the best players in the league and you have to respect those kind of players.

“His right foot is unbelievable.

“He is one of the best midfielders I have seen and played against.

“It’s always a good test to play against the likes of him, [Frank] Lampard and [Paul] Scholes.

“It’s going to be a test for me and Claudio.

“We need to protect our defence and be strong.”

Mulumbu has fond memories of last season’s trip to Anfield when he set up a 75th-minute winner for Peter Odemwingie in a 1-0 victory.

The Baggies also beat the Reds 3-0 on the opening day of the season and the DR Congo international has called on his team-mates to show the same belief they showed in those two games.

But he also believes Brendan Rodgers’ seventh-placed side are now a totally different proposition.

“Last season we were drawing there and I think everybody thought that was how it would finish,” he added.

“But I showed the belief to keep going when I’d lost the ball.

“I chased down Glen Johnson and I set up Peter to score.

“That’s the way we have to be – we have to believe in ourselves.

“We have to give credit to Liverpool as well because they are in good form.

“I saw their game against Manchester City and they played really well.

“They were in a bad position in the table but came back and are now just in front of us.

“So, we don’t underestimate this team.

“We’re going to respect them but we won’t be scared by them.

“We won their last season so why can’t we do it again?

“Liverpool are more confident now compared to the team we faced at the start of the season.

“But I think it will be in their minds that West Brom are a dangerous team.

“You expect it is going to be a tough game, technically and physically.

“Suarez is a wonderful player, and Gerrard, so we have to be aware for the full game.

“I’m looking forward to it.”